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Recovery Centers of America Chooses Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner as Scholarship Student Winner

Dillon McClernon

Authored by Dillon McClernon

Recovery Centers of America
2019 Scholarship Student Winner
Rachael Rose Tanner-Smith

Recovery Centers of America is pleased to announce the winner of a new $1000 scholarship program for students that are pursuing a degree with a mindset towards helping individuals and families struggling with addiction.

Rachel Tanner-Smith from Nashville, Texas was awarded the RCA scholarship. Rachel is currently enrolled in a Master of Science in Nursing program, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track. Upon graduation, Rachel plans to work in an outpatient psychiatric practice as an in-network provider and also hopes to do contract work with local treatment centers. She currently works as the director of a nonprofit meditation center and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice (LPC).

“I made a commitment to share the great hope of recovery with as many people as possible, I can improve our local community by becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and providing affordable care to community members in need… There are few providers offering psychiatric medication services and many do not accept insurance. Even fewer psychiatric providers specialize in, or are willing to treat, clients with addictions…,” she explained in her scholarship essay.

Rachel grew up in a small town in Western Kentucky. She related that addiction has taken a great toll on her life…

“The losses in my life have been great: 3 friends to suicide and six former clients from unintentional opiate overdoses or by completed suicides. I believe their trajectories would have been different if they’d been able to access the care they needed. A bright fire burns inside my heart, stoked by every funeral I’ve attended and the hand of every grieving parent I’ve held. We can do better and people don’t have to keep dying,” she stated.

Rachel said that several close friends have survived substance use relapse and overcome depression with the aid of treatment and medication. She said that she won her own battle with addiction in 2002, thanks to successful high-quality treatment.

Recovery Centers of America sponsors the annual $1000 RCA scholarship program for students in the United States that are currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, or trade school. The following outlines the requirements for the scholarship:

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be currently enrolled or in enrollment process at an accredited university, college, or trade school within the United States
  • Must be pursuing a degree and possess a desire to help individuals and families struggling with addiction
  • Limited to one (1) entry per person
  • Recovery Centers of America employees and their immediate families are NOT eligible for entry

Step-by-Step Scholarship Entry Process

  1. Draft a 750 – 1,000-word essay in response to the following topic: It’s imperative for individuals and their families to have access to high-quality, affordable, and effective treatment programs in an environment that is comfortable and close to home. How are you planning to use your degree to aid those in recovery? How do you plan to help individuals and families impacted by the disease of addiction?
  2. Please include a short bio of yourself. Your bio should include your name, background, and hometown, along with your interests, goals, college major (or expected college major), and anything else you’d like us to know. Please Note: Your bio does NOT count toward the 750-1000-word count required for the essay.
  3. Send your essay to [email protected] by December 31, 2019. Be sure to include the following information in the body of your email:
    • Full Name
    • Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • University, college, or trade school where you are currently enrolled or plan to enroll
  4. Once the submission period has ended, our judges will review each essay and select one winner no later than January 31, 2020. The winner will be contacted by a Recovery Centers of America representative shortly after a selection has been made.


Our judges will grade entries based upon the following criteria:

  • Focus – How well did you stick to your main idea? Is it insightful and original?
  • Support – How effectively did you support the ideas expressed in your essay?
  • Creativity – How unique were your ideas? Did you present them in a creative way?
  • Organization – Is the essay clear, organized, and easy to read?
  • Style and Language – How well did you utilize style and vocabulary to enhance your essay?
  • Grammar – Are there grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes?

Next year’s RCA scholarship winner will be announced in 2020. Please contact [email protected] a with any questions. We look forward to reading your application!

Authored by

Dillon McClernon

Dillon McClernon

Dillon currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at RCA. After his tenure as Chief Communications Officer and senior advisor to RCA, he opted for a full-time position at RCA where he could build a new team linking sales and marketing to directly impact RCA’s mission of saving 1 million lives.


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